Canes injury woes abate, power play a focus
Posted November 10, 2013
The Canes held a practice open to the season-ticket holders Sunday at PNC Arena. The team worked on four-on-four play and did some shootout drills in a light workout.
Ward ready to return
Goalie Cam Ward has been out since Oct. 24 when he suffered a groin injury in Minnesota. Ward said Sunday that wants to take part in a full practice Monday with the team. Head coach Kirk Muller says Ward needs to be 100 percent before the team puts him back in the lineup. Muller said he wouldn't set a return date until Ward makes it through a few practices pain-free. Ward will not be available for Tuesday night against Colorado.
Alternate captain Tim Gleason participated in practice and told me he is cleared to play. It is a question now of inserting him back onto the blue line.
Muller on when Gleason will return: “Have to see tomorrow where he practices and where he is at.”
Muller added that the defense is playing well and that it is a matter of Gleason showing that he is up to the pace of the NHL game after missing the last few games.
Picking up points
The Hurricanes have only given up 3 goals in regulation in the last three games.
Carolina has earned five out of a possible six points during the season-high five-game home stand.
“I think the thing is that we are finding ways to pick up points right now, and that’s what it is all about,” Muller said.
The offensive production has been down for the Hurricanes, but with a 2-0-1 record in the last three games, team captain Eric Staal is focused on the most important stat.
“It’s all about winning. That is the biggest thing. Obviously the more goals we can get there is a better chance you are going to win the game," he said. "It comes across as a process with the whole group and a team-type effort, and we’ve had that the last couple of games.”
Staal said the team is focusing on the right things in the offensive turnaround.
“Anytime you are in the heat of a game, sometimes less thinking is better," Staal said. "Sometimes you can get focused on certain things, but for the most part it is focusing on the details and the aspects of the game that us as a group want to do and let your instincts take over. We just play the game, find the areas and believe that if we continue to work and put the effort in the bounces are going to go your way.”
Pressing on the power play
The power play has only tallied one goal in the last five games. At home, the Canes are 4 of 43 – that is only 9.3 percent – but on the road the team is 5 of 25 for 20 percent. Is there a difference to trying to execute at home than on the road?
Muller offers a solution: “There are no excuses. ... Basically we are making improper decisions really and what we have to do is simplify and shoot the puck.”
Staal said some of the credit goes to Minnesota’s penalty killers for disrupting the Canes man-advantage tries, but ultimately it something the team has to dictate to the opponent.
“I think it’s just about continuing to try set up in the right areas where we want to be and executing the plays," he said.
"We have to get obviously better in that area because power play can win you games and last night it could have and it didn’t. It’s an area we have to improve on and continue to work at.”